Apart from being a wife and a mom, writing is the thing I have been called to do, yet the thing I have spent most of my adult years feeling largely inadequate in my ability to do. Here is my story...
I actually have a B.A. in journalism that came with a hefty price tag. I don't include that detail to impress people, but simply because that truth often threatens to build on my sense of inadequacy. You see, I am naturally pretty focused and goal-driven...I am rarely unaware of how I feel or am at a loss for what to do next. In fact, I have always carried an extra tote bag with "things to catch-up on" in case I find an extra minute in my travels. Some may say that's a bit OCD; I welcome my OCDness because I trust that my Heavenly Father weaved me together with love and intention.
Since the age of 7, I KNEW I wanted to be a criminal prosecuting attorney. Every future plan, opportunity for extra classes through elementary and high school, and even my university of choice was with this goal in mind. Halfway through my freshman year at my very secular New York City undergraduate school, it was as if the Lord placed His hands on my shoulders and jerked my focus away from law and into a 180-degree direction change.
I was scheduled for a mandatory visit with a freshman guidance counsellor. After answering her questions and sharing my thoughts on the plan I had in place, she suggested I take a class in the Journalism Department the following semester. What is journalism? I half-thought to myself. Though I had a pile of unread newspaper clippings from my father in my bedroom that he added to almost daily, I had never paid much attention to how the news actually got out to the world. However, at this woman's suggestion something clicked inside me. Soon after, I heard about a great need for Christians in the media on my local Christian radio station. So, I went ahead and took the first prerequisite class towards a journalism degree...and I fell in love!
I was (and still am not) not a huge fan of attention - cameras, microphones, etc. I knew I loved getting my thoughts on paper and had a huge desire and conviction to serve the Lord. So, when given the choice about what to write in my classes at my very secular university, I wrote about people and things from a Christian perspective. My writing instructor, for surprisingly two consecutive semesters, wasn't so excited about my work. I chose to persevere...I don't like to give up. But, the truth is that I questioned whether I was good enough to be published. In fact, on graduation day, I walked away from the ceremony with this prayer, "Lord, I know You changed my direction, but You know I feel like I can't do this. So, take it...I won't touch it...You do the whole thing." About a month later I had a quick interview with a major NYC radio station, where I was asked if I was willing to come in at any time of the day or night for breaking news stories. I thought about my wedding a couple months away and the marriage I was committing to make my first priority. I said no, and went on to continue working as a secretary and bookkeeper, get married, and become a stay-at-home mom several years later. I never doubted His direction, but wondered and watched out for how He was going to make me a writer that He could use.
It wasn't until almost 7 years ago that I understood the Lord prodding me with a "Now is the time". Words began to fill my mind like never before as I went about my daily life. It was a new awareness of what and how to express the seemingly ordinary experiences of life, into extraordinary opportunities to see God at work in "my world". So, after a little more direction from my neighbor who is also a copy editor, as well as encouragement from my sister and sisters-in-laws (each at separate times), I started my blog (www.JustAnOrdinaryMom.blogspot.com).
I still dealt with the challenge of shying away from attention, so I didn't exactly advertise what I was doing. Then...about a year ago I began to understand that His change of direction for my life back in college, as well as my ability to express myself out-loud and on paper, as something that one day He will ask me to give account for: Nydia, did you endeavor to use the calling and the gift I gave you to it's greatest potential? This truth and question transformed my feeling of inadequacy to a clear intention to choose to be brave.
It has been almost a year since understanding that it is my responsibility to be bold about sharing the nuggets He has passed onto me. At the same time, this last year has been one of the most difficult years of my life. I have been faced with various difficulties that have led to putting writing aside. But, as those difficulties are passing and I see a clearer direction of how to pursue my calling, I have committed to take brave to the next step, and pursue a fierce flourishing as a writer through investing in the diploma He led me to complete.
I will never regret the years I chose to give to investing in my marriage and children as my priority over my B.A. I believe, in a lot of ways, that my years of college preparation helped me do what I do today...homeschooling, as well as the ability to communicate with people of all kinds (which has led to serving as a MOPS Coach to MOPS Leadership Teams). After all, isn't reaching people what the heart of God longs for most of all?